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Cause of Death: Prune Hands Discussion
#1
By Ian Donnell Arbuckle

http://chud.com/stories/2464
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#2
Well, that was a surprise to see while wasting time at work. I like the way this place operates: no time wasted.

I hope a few people dig the story, and thanks, to you powers, for the great presentation.
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#3
That was a very enjoyable story. This and the fridge story have definitely been the best.

now, and i'll happily sound stupid here, where was the dead body?
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#4
Quote:

Originally Posted by Andrew Clarke

now, and i'll happily sound stupid here, where was the dead body?

Search me. I submitted it with a general, "Maybe it's a Creature Corner, I dunno, I guess, or something, whisper whisper" and it got stuck in what I assume is the most appropriate place.

Although there could be an argument made for the dead body being the body of Lovecraft's work. A big, stinky mess that the narrator doesn't know how to handle.

And thank you for the favorable comparison to the Fridge!
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#5
Actually, pardon my idiocy but that actually was meant to be a CREATURE FEATURE. I'm going to tweak that right now.
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#6
That's kind of how i took it, even though the thrust of the story suggests that the written word is still very much alive.

Also, if you want some constructive criticism, the ending was unsatisfying narratively. once you set up the movement of editing this work making the character's hands 'dirty', the concept didn't go anywhere else - the phenomena only escalates. the narrative isn't really concluded, the assignment simply ends, and the character's dilemma is the same as when he first started, only 'a bit more'.
you choose to stop the narrative and enter straight editorial for the conclusion - the character talking straight to the reader.
It's good stuff, but it renders the whole 'escalation' pointless as it leads to nothing. the ongoing story in the second half is something of a red herring, or busy work before you drop it for a different type of conclusion.
it's a good conclusion, oh yes, not concluding it narratively impies that the ongoing story was just a means for you to get to the end, which is possibly a bit of a cheat.

a cheap example would be him cutting his own hands off at the end, thus physically making it impossible for him to write a 'new sentence' (the details of voice activated word processing technology notwithstanding). that would go some way to narrativising your point. possibly not a very subtle idea though.
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#7
Quote:

Originally Posted by Andrew Clarke

you choose to stop the narrative and enter straight editorial for the conclusion - the character talking straight to the reader.

Good criticism, and thanks for it. The editorializing was a deliberate reflection of the style Lovecraft often used, abandoning the narrative to speak directly to the reader for whatever reason he chose to do that. (My gut guess is that it gave him the feeling that his stories were more immediate, but there are any number of scholarly guesses out there.) Lovecraft's mode of writing fascinates me, though I agree that it does not extend into active or compelling conclusions.

The title of the story is really the conclusion. I'm all post-modern 'n shit. Maybe pre-modern. I wrote stories during Lit Crit class.
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#8
FWIW I was the "editor" on this piece and quite enjoyed it. Andrew makes some fine points, but I feel overall that you nailed the Lovecraft oeuvre which is why I thought the ending worked so well.
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#9
Hey, danke. I appreciate all the feedback.
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#10
It was definitely the best-written story posted to date. I enjoyed the plot, as well. I've "suffered" through some of Lovecraft's long-winded anecdotes that never really went anywhere, and although his style of writing is the sort that always gives me a sepiated, antique quality to the images it produces, I thought your character's job was classic. I'm also hoping someone in the office got to do a little editing on Stephen King's earlier works!
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#11
Quote:

Originally Posted by Frank Gordon

I'm also hoping someone in the office got to do a little editing on Stephen King's earlier works!

... and did a better job than the author himself did when he undertook revising The Gunslinger? Boy, I hope so.
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#12
So, given the theme of the story and the mentions of the Bible, is this story nothing but a thinly veiled piece of pro-fundamentalist propoganda?
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#13
Quote:

Originally Posted by Andrew Clarke

So, given the theme of the story and the mentions of the Bible, is this story nothing but a thinly veiled piece of pro-fundamentalist propoganda?

God, I hope not.

I'd be very interested, though, to hear your argument in favor.
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#14
The main character fucks with the words of a book and the book fucks him back. moral: words are precious and MUST NOT BE CHANGED. Your first example? The Bible. Thus the bible must be kept exactly as it is and not interpreted in any way for a modern audience or else. conclusion: Christian Fundamentalism!

Isn't literary criticism a bunch of crap?
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#15
Quote:

Originally Posted by Andrew Clarke

Isn't literary criticism a bunch of crap?

Actually, despite my previous comments, I'm pretty fond of literary criticism, and your position is certainly a defensible one. I'd do a little bit of historicism and bring into the dialogue that the Christian bible has been edited and revised many times since its nebulous origin, and not once has god summoned vomit and revulsion for its editors, or so we can assume in the world of the fiction.

H.P. Lovecraft, therefore, is either more vengeful or more real than god.

...

I'm sorry for saying "therefore."
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#16
Quote:

Originally Posted by Andrew Clarke

Thus the bible must be kept exactly as it is and not interpreted in any way for a modern audience or else.

So which version of the Bible would you like to endorse as the Correct One Which Must Go Unchanged?
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#17
The one where Jesus was a woman who forgave the sins of man by having sex with as many as possible. 'here is my body, here is my blood' is the almost accurate modern translation of her pick up line.

Alternatively, the one I drew in the margins of during church when I was young. I think crayon pictures of donkeys and clouds and stuff would make people like the bible more.
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#18
Quote:

Originally Posted by Frank Gordon

So which version of the Bible would you like to endorse as the Correct One Which Must Go Unchanged?

I don't know about Andrew, but I think definitely "The Cottonpatch Bible" is the definitive holy writ.

See: "It also draws back heaven’s curtain on God’s displeasure with every form of arrogance and cussedness on the part of men who choke the truth with evil." -- The Letter to the Christians in Washington.

I assume he meant DC. There's not a scrap of cussedness up here in the pacific norwes'.

Also: "Nobility and honor and peace to every one who works for the right, whether he’s a 'superior' white or a Negro. For a man’s face cuts no ice with God." -- Same book.

My face cuts no ice! Damn it!
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#19
I'm a big fan of the "Bartender's Bible", myself.

See:

Grateful Dead

1. Collins glass w/ice
2. 1/2 oz. each of Vodka, Rum, Gin, Tequila, Triple Sec and Chambord.
3. Fill with sour mix, shake.
4. Top w/lemon-lime soda, lemon garnish.


Now who wouldn't follow that?
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#20
That sounds tasty. i think i'm coming over all religious.
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